Once upon a time, not long ago, there was only one smartphone firm on the lips of any business' IT team when it came to company phones: BlackBerry, the Canadian company formerly known as Research in Motion (RIM).
A lot has changed since then and BlackBerry's fortunes have taken a turn, leaving the door open for rivals to court the enterprise business and forcing it to embrace (or as some may say begrudgingly adopt) Android at the core of its new flagship handset.
The rest of the pack is hot on its heels, if not already overtaking, with Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, HTC and others all vying for a piece of the lucrative business pie.
This is great for any potential business buyer, as you now have a wide choice of mobile smartphones to choose from, allowing you to select the best phones for your company's requirements, regardless of the size.
In no particular order, here are the top smartphones for business use and business users.
1. Microsoft Lumia 950
A great enterprise phone particularly when paired with a display dock
Weight: 150g | Dimensions:145 x 73 x 8.2mm | OS: Windows | Screen size: 5.2-inch | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 pixels | CPU: Snapdragon 808 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: 20MP | Front camera: 5MP
This smartphone – and its 950XL sibling – represent the best-of-breed devices when it comes to Windows 10 Mobile, Microsoft's latest mobile operating system, one which promises, for the first time ever, a seamless user experience, across applications and across displays. You get 3GB of RAM, 32GB on-board storage, a 2K display, a 20-megapixel rear camera and a free one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal. Connect this handset to the Microsoft HD-500, an £80 Display Dock, and it transforms into a powerful desktop PC as well, great in an enterprise configuration.
Read the full review: Microsoft Lumia 950
2. BlackBerry Priv
The first BlackBerry handset with Android sauce
Weight: 192g | Dimensions: 147x 77 x 9.4mm | OS: Android | Screen size: 5.4-inch | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 pixels | CPU: Snapdragon 808 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 3410mAh | Rear camera: 18MP | Front camera: 2MP
When the Priv launched, it took a lot of analysts by surprised because of radical step involving the OS. BlackBerry had finally decided to embrace Android and re-introduce the keyboard (albeit a slide out one) on a flagship handset. It is, as techradar's John McCann candidly puts it, the mullet of the smartphone world. "It's still business in the front, but now there's a party in the back too. It will divide opinion, but this is the best BlackBerry in years," he added. The device will appeal to those who wants the security halo associated with BlackBerry with the ubiquity of Google's Android. Overall, it remains a stunning piece of kit, and probably one bound to become a classic.
Read the full review: BlackBerry Priv
3. BlackBerry Classic
For those who yearn for the golden age of BB OS
Weight: 178g | Dimensions: 131 x 72 x 10.2mm | OS: BlackBerry OS | Screen size: 3.5-inch | Resolution: 720 x 720 pixels | CPU: Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB | Battery: 2515mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 2MP
There are still BlackBerry fans out there and the Canadian company unveiled the Classic to please them all. An old-school QWERTY keyboard, a familiar operating system and user interface, a design that doesn't age and the enterprise-grade security are all on the feature list of this smartphone. Sure, Android might well have the upper hand when it comes to market share and the sheer number of applications but BlackBerry provides with yet another attractive alternative when it comes to business smartphones. It runs BlackBerry OS 10 with a square 720x720 pixel touchscreen display, a touchpad and up to 22-hour battery power.
Read the full review: BlackBerry Classic
4. Samsung Galaxy S6
A secure and compelling offering for BYOD aficionados
Weight: 138g | Dimensions: 143 x 71 x 6.8mm | OS: Android | Screen size: 5.1-inch | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 pixels | CPU: Exynos 7420 Octa | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 2550mAh | Rear camera: 16MP | Front camera: 5MP
With every iteration of its Galaxy S series, Samsung edges towards the business user. The S6 (and its partner the S6 Edge) saw the inclusion of Microsoft Office Android applications as well as Samsung's own mobile device management container solution, Knox. The latter provides military-grade, multi-layered mobile security. Siloed personal and work partitioning containers (Knox Workspace) means that employers can separate work and personal life in a near seamless way. Great for BYOD aficionados. Samsung also wisely scrapped the plastic finish for a more upmarket design that blends glass and metal.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S6
5. Samsung Galaxy Note 4
A more productive way to be mobile
Weight: 176g | Dimensions: 153 x 78 x 8.5mm | OS: Android | Screen size: 5.7-inch | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 pixels | CPU: Snapdragon 805 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 3220mAh | Rear camera: 16MP | Front camera: 3.7MP
Since the Note 5 is not officially available in the UK, the best Android-based device with a pen remains the Note 4, still a very capable device. Multi-tasking is part of the parcel of business these days and what better phone to handle this than the Galaxy Note 4 with its stunning QHD (better than full HD) 5.7-inch display, 3GB of RAM and serious power inside. A great battery life and expandable memory have always been key Galaxy Note features, but you can now add a more premium design to that list. A metal frame runs round the circumference of the handset, and while the rear is still plastic it's a big step forward for Samsung and it's a welcome addition. The S Pen has been given a boost with greater accuracy, making handwriting and multi-tasking even easier. Snap two apps side by side on screen if you want to up your efficiency even more.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Note 4
6. Apple iPhone 6S Plus
The alternative business smartphone
Weight: 192g | Dimensions: 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm | OS: iOS 9.3 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | CPU: Apple A9 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: 2750mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 5MP
Supersized smartphones are all the rage these days, even Apple has one, and if the Cupertino firm's styling and iOS heritage appeals to your business then check out the excellent iPhone 6S Plus. Its 5.5-inch display is one of the best on the market and the A9 processor that powers it regularly ranks amongst the most powerful in smartphone-dom. It supports more LTE bands than most smartphones and its enclosure is made of the same grade of aluminium alloy as used in the aerospace industry. Add in Siri and a bunch of other innovations (like Touch ID and 3D Touch) and you have a very capable business phone, one whose profile was raised by Apple's close collaboration with IBM.
Read the full review: Apple iPhone 6S Plus
7. Lenovo K80M
A handset which boasts sizzling bang for buck
Weight: 158g | Dimensions: 77 x 150 x 8.5mm | OS: Android | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels | CPU: Intel Atom Z3560 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 4000mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP
This smartphone is worthy of a special mention on this list as a business phone for a number of reasons. It is built by Lenovo, the biggest PC manufacturer on the planet, one who also owns Motorola as well. It's shipped directly from China which is a novel but growing shift in the way products are purchased. It has a headline-grabbing 4GB of RAM, same as most desktop PCs, and 64GB of storage. Despite these specs – and a quad-core Intel CPU – it retails for a fraction of what similar smartphones will cost over here. Sadly though, because it doesn't have a local warranty you will need to send it back for repairs.
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